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Concept: Absorption spectroscopy


In this paper we present a new method for retrieving tropospheric NO2 Vertical Column Density (VCD) from zenith-sky Differential Optical Absorption Spectroscopy (DOAS) measurements using mobile observations. This method was used during three days in the summer of 2011 in Romania, being to our knowledge the first mobile DOAS measurements peformed in this country. The measurements were carried out over large and different areas using a mobile DOAS system installed in a car. We present here a step-by-step retrieval of tropospheric VCD using complementary observations from ground and space which take into account the stratospheric contribution, which is a step forward compared to other similar studies. The detailed error budget indicates that the typical uncertainty on the retrieved NO2tropospheric VCD is less than 25%. The resulting ground-based data set is compared to satellite measurements from the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) and the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment-2 (GOME-2). For instance, on 18 July 2011, in an industrial area located at 47.03°N, 22.45°E, GOME-2 observes a tropospheric VCD value of (3.4 ± 1.9) × 1015 molec./cm2, while average mobile measurements in the same area give a value of (3.4 ± 0.7) × 1015 molec./cm2. On 22 August 2011, around Ploiesti city (44.99°N, 26.1°E), the tropospheric VCD observed by satellites is (3.3 ± 1.9) × 1015 molec./cm2 (GOME-2) and (3.2 ± 3.2) × 1015 molec./cm2 (OMI), while average mobile measurements give (3.8 ± 0.8) × 1015 molec./cm2. Average ground measurements over “clean areas”, on 18 July 2011, give (2.5 ± 0.6) × 1015 molec./cm2 while the satellite observes a value of (1.8 ± 1.3) × 1015 molec./cm2.

Concepts: Scientific method, Observation, Philosophy of science, Hypothesis, Absorption, Knowledge, Absorption spectroscopy, Stratosphere


In low dimensional cuprates several interesting phenomena, including high Tc superconductivity, are deeply connected to electron correlations on Cu and the presence of the Zhang-Rice (ZR) singlet state. Here, we report on direct spectroscopic observation of the ZR state responsible for the low-energy physical properties in two isostructural A-site ordered cuprate perovskites, CaCu3Co4O12 and CaCu3Cr4O12 as revealed by resonant soft x-ray absorption spectroscopy on the Cu L3,2- and O K-edges. These measurements reveal the signature of Cu in the high-energy 3+ (3d(8)), the typical 2+ (3d(9)), as well as features of the ZR singlet state (i.e., 3d(9)L, L denotes an oxygen hole). First principles GGA + U calculations affirm that the B-site cation controls the degree of Cu-O hybridization and, thus, the Cu valency. These findings introduce another avenue for the study and manipulation of cuprates, bypassing the complexities inherent to conventional chemical doping (i.e. disorder) that hinder the relevant physics.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, X-ray, Electromagnetic radiation, Condensed matter physics, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Superconductivity, Absorption spectroscopy


In nanostructured thin films, photogenerated charge carriers can access the surface more easily than in dense films and thus react more readily. However, the high surface area of these films has also been associated with enhanced recombination losses via surface states. We herein use transient absorption spectroscopy to compare the ultrafast charge carrier kinetics in dense and nanostructured TiO2 films for its two most widely used polymorphs: anatase and rutile. We find that nanostructuring does not enhance recombination rates on ultrafast timescales, indicating that surface state mediated recombination is not a key loss pathway for either TiO2 polymorph. Rutile shows faster, and less intensity-dependent recombination than anatase, which we assign to its higher doping density. For both polymorphs, we conclude that bulk rather than surface recombination is the primary determinant of charge carrier lifetime.

Concepts: Density, Solar cell, Titanium dioxide, Rutile, Absorption spectroscopy, Surface area, Anatase, Charge carrier


Melanin is a critical component of biological systems, but the exact chemistry of melanin is still imprecisely known. This is partly due to melanin’s complex heterogeneous nature and partly because many studies use synthetic analogues and/or pigments extracted from their natural biological setting, which may display important differences from endogenous pigments. Here we demonstrate how synchrotron X-ray analyses can non-destructively characterise the elements associated with melanin pigment in situ within extant feathers. Elemental imaging shows that the distributions of Ca, Cu and Zn are almost exclusively controlled by melanin pigment distribution. X-ray absorption spectroscopy demonstrates that the atomic coordination of zinc and sulfur is different within eumelanised regions compared to pheomelanised regions. This not only impacts our fundamental understanding of pigmentation in extant organisms but also provides a significant contribution to the evidence-based colour palette available for reconstructing the appearance of fossil organisms.

Concepts: DNA, X-ray, Chemical element, Copper, Melanin, Pigment, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Absorption spectroscopy


Analysis of a radioactive, coated concrete core from the decommissioned, spent nuclear fuel cooling pond at the Hunterston-A nuclear site (UK) has provided a unique opportunity to study radionuclides within a real-world system. The core, obtained from a dividing wall and sampled at the fill level of the pond, exhibited radioactivity (dominantly (137)Cs and (90)Sr) heterogeneously distributed across both painted faces. Chemical analysis of the core was undertaken using microfocus spectroscopy at Diamond Light Source, UK. Mapping of Sr across the surface coatings using microfocus X-ray fluorescence (μXRF) combined with X-ray absorption spectroscopy showed that Sr was bound to TiO2 particles in the paint layers, suggesting an association between TiO2 and radiostrontium. Stable Sr and Cs sorption experiments using concrete coupons were also undertaken to assess their interactions with the bulk concrete in case of a breach in the coating layers. μXRF and scanning electron microscopy showed that Sr was immobilized by the cement phases, whilst at the elevated experimental concentrations, Cs was associated with clay minerals in the aggregates. This study provides a crucial insight into poorly understood infrastructural contamination in complex systems and is directly applicable to the UK’s nuclear decommissioning efforts.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Electromagnetic radiation, Coating, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Absorption spectroscopy, Nuclear technology, Nuclear decommissioning


Staphylococcus xylosus and Pediococcus pentosaceus isolated from Chinese dried sausage were assessed for their ability to convert metmyoglobin into nitrosylmyoglobin in Mann-Rogosa-Sharp broth model systems and raw pork meat batters without the addition of nitrite. The results showed that samples in model systems with S. xylosus cultures had an absorption spectra that is typical of nitrosylmyoglobin, an obvious pink colour (judged by visual inspection) and a significantly higher a-value than the control samples or samples inoculated with P. pentosaceus. In raw meat batters, the a-values of the S. xylosus samples were almost the same as those for the meat with nitrite added. The complementary analysis of meat batter samples by photochemical information from UV-vis, electron spin resonance and resonance Raman spectroscopy revealed that the existing status of the myoglobin in meat batters inoculated with S. xylosus was mainly pentacoordinate nitrosylmyoglobin. This study provides a potential solution for nitrite substitute in meat products.

Concepts: Electron, Spectroscopy, Staphylococcus, Raman spectroscopy, Raman scattering, Absorption spectroscopy, Pork, Staphylococcus xylosus


Polymer and life science applications of a technique that combines atomic force microscopy (AFM) and infrared (IR) spectroscopy to obtain nanoscale IR spectra and images are reviewed. The AFM-IR spectra generated from this technique contain the same information with respect to molecular structure as conventional IR spectroscopy measurements, allowing significant leverage of existing expertise in IR spectroscopy. The AFM-IR technique can be used to acquire IR absorption spectra and absorption images with spatial resolution on the 50 to 100 nm scale, versus the scale of many micrometers or more for conventional IR spectroscopy. In the life sciences, experiments have demonstrated the capacity to perform chemical spectroscopy at the sub-cellular level. Specifically, the AFM-IR technique provides a label-free method for mapping IR-absorbing species in biological materials. On the polymer side, AFM-IR was used to map the IR absorption properties of polymer blends, multilayer films, thin films for active devices such as organic photovoltaics, microdomains in a semicrystalline polyhydroxyalkanoate copolymer, as well as model pharmaceutical blend systems. The ability to obtain spatially resolved IR spectra as well as high-resolution chemical images collected at specific IR wavenumbers was demonstrated. Complementary measurements mapping variations in sample stiffness were also obtained by tracking changes in the cantilever contact resonance frequency. Finally, it was shown that by taking advantage of the ability to arbitrarily control the polarization direction of the IR excitation laser, it is possible to obtain important information regarding molecular orientation in electrospun nanofibers.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Molecular geometry, Absorption spectroscopy, Infrared spectroscopy, Infrared, Near infrared spectroscopy, Rotational spectroscopy, Photothermal microspectroscopy


A new series of materials of the glaserite family with the general formula K(3)RE(VO(4))(2)(RE = Sc, Y, Dy, Ho, Er, Tm, Yb, and Lu) have been hydrothermally synthesized using 10 M K(2)CO(3) at 560 °C and characterized by single crystal X-ray diffraction (XRD), powder XRD, differential thermal analysis/thermogravimetric analysis (DTA/TGA), energy-dispersion X-ray (EDX), Raman, infrared, and absorption spectroscopy. All the compounds crystallize in the trigonal P3̅m1 space group (No. 164), and their structures contain VO(4) tetrahedra, REO(6) octahedra, and two different K(1)O(10) and K(2)O(12) polyhedra. The spectroscopic properties of Nd(3+), Yb(3+), or Er(3+) doped K(3)RE(VO(4))(2) (RE = Y or Lu) are also reported, and the results obtained show that these compounds have promising potential as new laser host materials.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Diffraction, Crystallography, Electromagnetic radiation, Laser, Absorption spectroscopy, Infrared spectroscopy, Infrared


In this manuscript, we have characterized two different micellar aggregates containing all nonvolatile components. We have shown (i) the effect of ethylammonium nitrate (EAN) addition on the properties of micellar solution of Triton X-100 in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate (bmimPF(6)) and (ii) the effect of bmimPF(6) addition on the properties of micellar solution of Triton X-100 in EAN. To investigate the effect, we have used (1)H NMR, pulsed-field gradient spin-echo NMR (PFGSE NMR), and methyl orange (MO) and coumarin 153 (C-153) as absorption and emission probes, respectively. The penetration of added EAN inside the Triton X-100/bmimPF(6) micellar aggregates is indicated by (i) red shift in both the absorption spectra of MO and emission spectra of C-153 and (ii) downfield shift of proton signals of ethylene oxide units in Triton X-100. On the other hand, (1)H NMR and PFGSE NMR indicates the penetration of added bmimPF(6) inside the Triton X-100/EAN micellar aggregates. However, the constancy of both the absorption spectra of MO and emission spectra of C-153 indicates that the microenvironment around the probe molecules remains unaffected. We have also investigated the effect of micelle formation and the effect of penetration of ionic liquids (ILs) in micellar aggregates, on the solvation dynamics of C-153. The solvent relaxation around C-153 gets retarded on going from neat ILs to the micellar solution of Triton X-100 in ILs. In addition to this, we have also observed that with the addition of EAN in Triton X-100/bmimPF(6) micellar aggregates the solvation dynamics becomes faster, whereas with the addition of bmimPF(6) in Triton X-100/EAN micellar aggregates we did not observe any notable change in solvation dynamics. This observation further supports the conclusions drawn from UV-visible and NMR studies.

Concepts: Solvent, Ionic liquid, Absorption spectroscopy, 1-Butyl-3-methylimidazolium hexafluorophosphate, Ethylammonium nitrate, Hexafluorophosphate, Ionic liquids, Paul Walden


Fluorescence yield (FY) detected x-ray absorption spectra (XAS) of 3d transition metal ions are calculated from the integrated 2p3d resonant x-ray emission spectra. The resulting FY-XAS spectra are compared with the normal XAS spectra corresponding to the absorption cross section and significant deviations between the two spectra are found. This implies that the assumption that the FY-XAS spectrum identifies with the XAS spectrum is disproved. Especially for the early transition metal systems the differences between the FY-XAS and XAS are large, due to the opening of inelastic decay channels from selected x-ray absorption final states. The theoretical calculations show that the difference between FY detection and XAS is largest for the detection in depolarized geometry. The calculations are compared with experimental spectra for oxides and coordination compounds for Fe(2+), Co(2+) and Ni(2+) systems. The implications for the sum rules in XAS and magnetic circular dichroism experiments are discussed.

Concepts: Spectroscopy, Electromagnetic radiation, Zinc, Transition metal, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, Absorption spectroscopy, Emission spectrum, X-ray absorption fine structure